I sat down to enjoy a musical celebration of Sonic and expected all the hits including Green Hill Zone and Open Your Heart from Sonic Adventure. What I got from the performance, however, were plenty of deep cuts and surprises from just about every era of Sonic’s musical history. I can give you a quick rundown, but cannot recommend enough that you watch, or just listen, to the entire show yourself.
The show began with the orchestra introducing the first Sonic game that started it all with a medley including Green Hill Zone, Marble Zone, and a few others. Following the first medley, Sonic 2 was introduced with something I never knew I needed until that moment: an orchestrated rendition of Wing Fortress Zone. As another medley finished I realized just how timely all of this music is, and nearly teared up later during the show (we’ll get to that).
Catching myself off guard, the orchestra began playing the soundtrack from Sonic the Hedgehog on GAME GEAR! I did not expect any 8-bit representation, but was immediately pleasantly surprised. Thinking this would be the only curve ball to be thrown, snippets of Sonic Drift and even Tails Adventure were included in the Game Gear medley.
Rounding out the 16-bit timeline was a medley for Sonic 3 & Knuckles just before Studiopolis Zone from Sonic Mania jazzed up the room and transitioned into another medley. I couldn’t help but snicker at the fact that this was the second time Sega officially ignored Sonic 4 Episodes 1 and Episode 2 (the first being the elevator buttons shown in Sonic Mania’s animated intro).
I will mention another curve ball before including the full track listing. Avid Mega Visions Twitch viewers know of my love for Sonic R. When that logo flashed on the screen I definitely that I let out an, “Oh heck yes!” while sitting by myself in front of my computer. Shortly after “feeling the sunshine,” one more sucker punch hit me when Sonic the Hedgehog into Dreams appeared on the screen behind the orchestra. To say I am a Nights into Dreams, (more specifically Christmas Nights), fan is a gigantic understatement, so this representation was all I needed for the entire show to end right there. But SEGA knew that wasn’t enough.
Medleys continued as the orchestra covered 3D Sonic titles including Sonic Adventure, Colors, Unleashed, and even Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). What followed was an adorable intermission screen with a “live” camera of the Sonic Adventure 2 Chao garden before kicking things into overdrive quite literally.
Once the intermission ended, we were introduced to a rock group composed of a drummer, bassist, guitarist, pianist, and vocalist (voice actor/musician Nathan Sharp, better known as NateWantsToBattle) covering songs from Sonic Colors and one track from Sonic Unleashed accompanied by the orchestra. I will say for Endless Possibilities that Nathan absolutely crushed it and I look forward to hearing more from him.
Finally, it would not have been a musical Sonic show without the “butt rock,” we didn’t know we wanted, but realized we needed on 09/09/99: Crush 40.
Even in his little window, Johnny Gioeli had as much charisma as he does on stage, and I have to praise him for that.
Crush 40 covered a few of their hits, and even the title track from Team Sonic Racing, but not before handing the mic one last time back to Nathan to “follow my rainbow.” After fleeing that semitruck, I couldn’t help but shake my head with the biggest smile on my face at the transition screen that followed:
Without going into further detail about every track choice, I have included the complete track listing below. I will say also that this presentation felt a little more special than most symphonic representations of game soundtracks. It feels like just about every JRPG has seen it’s soundtrack orchestrated and brought to the big cities in the US, or throughout Japan. To hear soundtracks including chiptunes and alternative rock was a real treat to celebrate Sonic’s 30th Anniversary, and I truly hope this presentation sees a physical release on CD or vinyl. Would you buy one? Let us know below!
1. Sonic 1 Medley
2. Sonic 2 Medley
3. Game Gear Medley
4. Sonic 3 & Knuckles Medley
5. Sonic Mania Medley
6. Sega Saturn Medley
7. Believe in Myself
8. It Doesn’t Matter
9. Sonic 06 Medley
10. Sonic Unleashed Medley
11. Sonic Lost World Medley
12. Sonic Forces Medley
13. Sonic Colors Medley
Chao Garden Theme (Intermission)
16. Reach for the Stars
17. Speak With Your Heart
18. Endless Possibility
19. Open Your Heart
20. Sonic Heroes Theme
21. Green Light Ride
22. Sonic Boom (Crush 40 Version)
23. All of Me
23. Knight of the Wind
24. City Escape
25. Live and Learn